Handling attacks from the enemy!

In my current Bible reading, I’ve been struck with how many times God used women to take a bold, courageous, and wise stand against the enemy.  There are so many occasions where a woman steps out to lead or help God’s people when the enemy is attacking.  Here are some of the examples:  Abigail (in 1 Samuel 25) acts wisely when her husband did not.  Rahab (Joshua 2) hides God’s people from the enemy.  Deborah (Judges 4) courageously leads the people of God into war against the enemy.  Esther (Esther 4 & 5) boldly intercedes for God’s people even though it was dangerous for her to do so.  The wise woman (2 Samuel 20) reasoned with an enemy who was about to destroy her city and her wisdom saved the city.

What can we learn from these women?  They were all very alert to the enemy’s schemes and they all boldly chose to take action against the enemy, trusting in God for the outcome.  So here is the question for you:  Do you see the enemy attacking your husband, your marriage, your family, or individual children?  If you do, are you going to just wring your hands in despair, or are you going to take action?  Hopefully, you will become a courageous woman of action!  What does God want you to do?  Do you need to relentlessly pray for God to intervene?  Do you need to boldly confront an issue?  Do you need to get wise counsel from a godly woman? Do you need to establish firm boundaries in a relationship? Do you need to ask others to pray with you?

Speaking into your husband’s life

You likely know your husband better than anyone.  As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper.  This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”.  Then God created woman!  Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.

Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol?  Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time?  Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise?  Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?

If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things.  First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make.  Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.  

Tips: 

  • Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch).  This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
  • Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
  • Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
  • You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”.  When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.

Invite 3rd person into your marriage

One of my super humbling moments as a newly divorced woman actually reminds me of a vital marriage principle.  Here’s the event forever etched in my memory from December of 2002:

It was nearing Christmas and I had just gone through a divorce after 18 years of marriage.  My children were 16 and 14 at the time and I wanted to keep as many Christmas traditions in place as possible, so I announced that I was taking the kids to cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm.  Just before we took off, I realized I didn’t have any way to tie the tree to the top of my SUV.  But hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, or so I thought. lol  I wasn’t going to let anything deter me!

So I searched my new house for something resembling rope or a bungee cord.  Alas, there was no such thing on hand.  All I had was some….sewing thread. Hmmm. Well, maybe a whole bunch of thread would work?

Off we went to pick out our beautiful Christmas tree.  My son cut it down.  Unlike me, he apparently knew how to handle this part of the operation.  We hoisted the tree to the top of my SUV and then I carefully wove my spool of thread back and forth across the tree to secure it to the roof.  My kids just shook their heads in disbelief.  Then we took off, and we actually made it about a half-mile before the tree took a slow, inelegant slide from the top of the car to the road. Splat!

Why am I sharing this story with you?  I’m using it to remind both you and me that a tiny thread is not sufficient to hold anything heavy when the wind starts blowing against it.  In the same way, we need a super strong rope to hold a marriage together when we are slammed by the wind of miscommunication, frustration, and unmet expectations in marriage. We need a rope of three strands…you, your husband and the Lord.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Sit down with your husband and brainstorm ideas on how you can keep God in the center of your marriage. You will need him to help hold you guys together when you encounter the inevitable adversity and challenges that hit every marriage! Invite a third party into your marriage…the Holy Spirit!

2 ways to keep husband attracted

As a wife, you want your husband to cherish you and be drawn to you.  The question is: once you get married and the intoxication of new love wears off, how do you keep your man drawn to you?  Of course, you want to do what you can to stay physically attractive, and you likely know a robust sex life with him is super important, but here are 2 other simple things that will tend to keep your husband attracted to you.

1)  Listen intently to him when he talks, especially when he talks about his hopes, his dreams, his plans, and the things he loves to do.  If you engage him in conversation about his dreams and passions in life, he will feel understood, accepted, and valued for who he is at his core. Valuing his hopes and dreams is a sign of respect, and Ephesians 5:33 says, “The wife must respect her husband.” This doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with some of his more far-fetched dreams, but you can certainly explore with him why that specific dream or passion is exciting to him.  Perhaps you can even brainstorm ways to satisfy those longings in practical ways.

2)  Make plans for fun outings together and then make time in your schedule to have fun with him!  You used to do this when you were dating, and you need to keep connecting with him through fun activities and hobbies during your marriage.  Golf together.  Try doing a workout video together.  Start a pillow fight.  Watch funny movies.  Take a hike.  Go sledding in the winter and kayaking in the summer.  Invite a fun couple to your house once a month to play table games.  Your husband will bond with you and be drawn to you when you have fun together.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Watch out for this scheme from hell!

I’m outing him.  I’m exposing one of Satan’s main strategies for tripping up wives and potentially destroying their marriages.  I can speak from experience because I got caught in this scheme.  Ugh.  Here it is.  The enemy will subtly lure you into a “friendship” with a man other than your husband.  It will start very innocently.  It may evolve very slowly.  But here’s what I know.  Once you start sharing your feelings, your troubles, and your hopes with a man, you start emotionally bonding with that man.   Once a man starts sharing his burdens and his feelings with you, you start to bond with that man.  Now you’re in treacherous water, and it’s only a matter of time before you get sucked into an actual affair.

I know some of you don’t believe me, but trust me, this has happened to countless women, including wonderful Christian ladies.  It happened to me at the end of my first marriage.  I never would have believed it could happen to me!  For me, it took over 10 years for Satan to build a strong enough emotional bond with the man for me to be ensnared, but apparently the devil is pretty patient.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Refuse to spend time alone with another man, even at a public location.  Refuse to discuss your marriage or your husband with another man, unless it’s a pastor or counselor.   God instructs us in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be self-controlled and alert because the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour“.  Be smart.  Be alert to this scheme from the pit of hell!

If your husband has an addiction…

You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc.  The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him.  Hmm.  That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!

The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction.  You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him.  What do I mean by “speaking words of life”?  I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle.  Your words are so very important.  Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.

Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife.  Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him.  He needs to hear words of hope for the future if he commits to doing the hard work to break free from the addiction.

Avoiding landmines in blended families

Pretty much anyone who has entered the arena of blended families and step-parenting knows that it is like trying to walk across a field of landmines.  Typically, the biggest problem is that the step-parent thinks the step-child should love and respect them just like they would their biological parent.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.

Here’s the best piece of advice I ever heard on this subject.  As the step-parent, take the time (perhaps years!) to sow nothing but love into the relationship with your new stepchild.  Resist the desire to step in as disciplinarian and let the biological parent handle that.  As a couple, talk with your spouse behind closed doors about how “situations” and discipline should be handled, but then let the biological parent actually carry it out.

The idea of sowing love into a person before expecting that person to love you in return is actually similar to our relationship with Jesus.  The Bible says “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  We need to model this as step-parents.  Your step-child needs to see you demonstrate love for a sustained period of time before believing you actually have their best interests at heart.  This may truly take years, especially if the child is over the age of about 5 when you first enter the new marriage.  Be patient.

This could make husband better

Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life!  Whether you realize it or not, every time you criticize your husband or correct your husband or point out flaws in your husband’s ideas, you are crushing his spirit.  Every time you crush his spirit, he ends up feeling like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying.  I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”.  When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat.  He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father.  He no longer even believes that’s possible,

On the other hand, ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father.  He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well.  A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!

Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.”  One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager!  Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures.  Choose to encourage him instead.  Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness!  You’ll both be happier!

This is toxic in relationships

We’ve all been betrayed and we’ve all betrayed others.  I can almost guarantee this is true for all of us, although we only seem to remember the times when we’ve been betrayed.  We conveniently “forget” the times we’ve betrayed others, in big and small ways.

Here’s the thing.  When we allow our focus to remain on the deeply hurtful things people have done to us, it’s as if we tie a heavy chain around our ankles and toss ourselves into a deep, dark lake.  We slowly sink deeper and deeper into murky darkness.  We’re starved for life-giving oxygen.  We slowly drown in self-pity.  We become enveloped by resentment and that resentment becomes a poison to us and everyone around us!

Cut the chains of bitterness and resentment!  Come up for air.  Drop the “victim” attitude.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:15 to “see to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many”.  Your choice to embrace and coddle your bitterness will surely be the death of your joy and the joy of those around you.

How can you get rid of this super destructive attitude of resentment? Here are some insights. Stop hitting the replay button on past hurts!  Choose this day to be thankful for what you do have.  Make a choice to have compassion on your offender, realizing that you’re not perfect either!  If the resentment stems from current behavior, then seek godly counsel on establishing boundaries in that relationship.  Finally, ask God to redeem your painful experience in some kind of way.  He loves to do that!  Romans 8:28 promises us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.”

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 things husbands want in communication

Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband?  Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication.  Here they are:

1)  Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need.  They don’t respond to hints.  They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind.  They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.

2)  Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short.  They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details.  Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds!  So get to the point quickly.  Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder.  It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.

3)  All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“.  This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor.  No eye-rolling!  It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him.  Oh, and one more thing.  It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when